European Lead Factory

A collaborative approach to finding high quality leads for new drug discovery programs

The European Lead Factory was established in 2013 to find valuable lead structures that were previously inaccessible – and which might eventually generate novel treatment options for patients. It is a pan-European drug discovery project, and a flagship open innovation resource for academia, public organizations, large pharma companies and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

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new drug discovery projects

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unique chemical compounds in the ELF library

About the European Lead Factory

Within the framework of the European Lead Factory, a Joint European Compound Library (JECL) has been created from two unique sources. First, over 300,000 compounds have been selected from previously inaccessible private company (EFPIA) collections. Second, a further 200,000 innovative compounds have been synthesized from crowd sourcing ideas by European Lead Factory chemistry partners. The initiative also offers ultra-high throughput (uHTS) screening of novel drug targets against the JECL at the European Screening Centre (ESC).

The new ESCulab project (European Screening Centre; Unique Library for Attractive Biology), supported by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), will use the well-established European Lead Factory brand in order to continue its success story of speeding up drug discovery.

Visit the European Lead Factory website for more information. 

Sustaining consortium success as a trusted partner

The project reaches out to academics and SMEs throughout Europe. Lygature helped to drive development from the beginning, establishing and managing an international consortium of 20 (previously 30) partners. From January 2016, a broad range of resources and support are provided under the Lygature brand, including: 

  • Scientific management and leadership. Lygature is responsible for scientific management at the Program Office, where drug discovery proposals are being recruited and where the review and selection processes are coordinated. In addition, Lygature supports the Ethics Advisory Board and is coordinator of the IMI ESCulab grant;
  • Trusted partner. As an independent enabler with no conflicting interests, Lygature guides public and private drug discovery;
  • Sustainability. Lygature coordinates sustainability discussions and planning for the European Screening Centre and the collaborative drug discovery concept;
  • Communications. Other contributions include brand building of EU Lead Factory; communicating and disseminating (scientific) articles, policies and guidelines; and use of our intranet platform for secured document sharing.

The European Lead Factory is an important example of the Lygature mission to bring academia, industry and society together in collaborative projects that allow participants to benefit from shared resources. It has required extensive expertise in both management and science, and has helped to build many long-term partnerships which Lygature continues to support.

Top image: Screening Robot at the European Screening Centre (courtesy of the Pivot Park Screening Centre)

Lygature together with

Project updates

  • Sabine Mulders

    ELF project member spotlight: Sabine Mulders, PPSC

    One of the objectives of the European Lead Factory (ELF) is to provide guidance to the drug discovery community on successful strategies in lead discovery techniques. Helping to achieve this objective is the Pivot Park Screening Centre (PPSC), the ELF partner responsible for assay development and high-throughput screening. To find out more about what’s involved in the assay development process and the interactions with researchers, we spoke to Sabine Mulders, Chief Project Officer at PPSC.

    Read more.

  • Corona virus molecules

    The European Lead Factory selects first COVID-19 proposal

    Over the last few months, as the world has grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Lead Factory has been looking for ways to contribute collective efforts and assets to help deal with the crisis. As part of this focus, we have decided to prioritise COVID-19 related proposals through a fast-track procedure. We're proud to announce that the first proposal to tackle the SARS-CoV-2 infection has now been selected. The screening program aims to identify small-molecule inhibitors of viral entry into host cells.

    Read more.

  • Patricia Kramer-Verhulst

    Project member spotlight: Patricia Kramer-Verhulst

    In this, the first in a series of articles in which we introduce various members of the European Lead Factory (ELF) Consortium, we’re pleased to feature an interview with Patricia Kramer-Verhulst. Patricia is a member of the ELF Programme Office – a team of ELF project members at Lygature. We asked Patricia to explain her role and what it is that interests her most about the project.

    Read more.